1. penetrating; cutting; biting; trenchant: an incisive tone of voice.
  2. remarkably clear and direct; sharp; keen; acute: an incisive method of summarizing the issue.
  3. adapted for cutting or piercing.
  4. of or relating to the incisors: the incisive teeth.


  1. keen, penetrating, or acute
  2. biting or sarcastic; mordantan incisive remark
  3. having a sharp cutting edgeincisive teeth

early 15c., inscisif, “slashing, cutting with a sharp edge,” from Middle French incisif and directly from Medieval Latin incisivus, from Latin incis-, past participle stem of incidere (see incision). Originally literal; figurative sense of “mentally acute” first recorded 1850 as a borrowing from French. Related: Incisively; incisiveness.


  1. Having the power to cut.
  2. Relating to the incisor teeth.

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